You Can Die From Pneumonia
My reason for posting this, besides my vain love of talking about myself (j/k. Mostly.) is this:
Maybe someone less stubborn than me will see that this is what can happen if you ignore the signs of stress. It can compromise your immune system.
And before you know it, you’re admitted to the hospital. And a five day stay turns into Two Weeks, for severe Bacterial Pneumonia. And there’s a vaccine! Something I would know if I went to the regular doctor a little more often, instead of spending virtually all my time and money on the back doctors and pain management.
Regular pneumonia, by the way, is the 6th most common cause of death in the United States. It’s the number one cause of death due to infection.
I was hovering between life and death my first few days in the ICU. All because I refused to slow down. Again, stress can lead to an imbalance of resources in your body. Your reserves go to combatting what the stress is doing to you. Your immune system has fewer defenses. Infections you could normally fight off, you cannot.
Listen to me: You can reschedule that meeting. Get help for the overwhelming project. That email can wait 5 minutes while you clear your head.
Nothing is more important than good health.
How I Ended Up At Doctor’s Community Hospital with Pneumonia
So, here’s what happened, and why I seemed to fall off the earth for the month of May… I’ll spare you the gross stuff, though I may do a post on some of the mild thing for my personal blog – it would have helped me a lot if I could have read about it online before they took my tech away…
On the evening of May 2nd, I came back from gorgeous Bar Harbor, Maine, completely relaxed – and met a wall of stress. There were so many projects paused or in progress, and I stubbornly wanted to complete them without assistance.
Business had been growing at a break-neck pace and I was forming a plan for my partners to handle certain new projects personally, independently of me. Some friends had become customers. And I felt like people important to me were counting on me. I could sleep next month right?
Except I just turned 40. I can push myself the way I did when I was 25, but the consequences are now more dire. Funny what we forget when we’re striving to complete a mission.
The evening of May 4th it started. A persistent cough that didn’t seem to respond to medication. I survived on cough drops & ice water and kept pushing on.
Then on the 5th, I lay down with a fever that kept breaking & spiking. Suddenly the quest for ice water one flight down was wiping me out. Every type of food seemed disgusting so I didn’t eat. I threw some Slimfast & juice into the mix to try and compensate.
When I came out of this cycle it was the 7th. I thought I’d been taking cat naps and lost 2 days – of not working – to fever. I spoke to my mother, a retired nurse now living in Africa, to ask what she else she thought I should do. She urged me to call my Uncle, who is a doctor, but I hate to bother him so I held off.
But later, the expression on my brother’s face, when he saw me for the first time in 2 days, convinced me to call immediately.
Finally I Call for Help
My Uncle came over and immediately prescribed antibiotics. My brother took good care of me that night- upon going to get my medicine ( Two hundred bucks!), he asked me what I wanted to eat, and brought me food and water before going to bed.
My Uncle came back and listened to my lungs and looked in my throat the next day. Upon seeing my tonsils, he – A DOCTOR – flinched and said “Arggh.” I’m thinking, really? How sick AM I?
By now I’d lost my voice and couldn’t ask. When I swallowed, it felt like a tooth had grown into my left tonsil and was biting the one on the right. Ice seemed to keep my growing tonsils at bay, so I got as much ice & water as I could carry and went to bed, intending to sleep.
More Fever, Some Delirium
Nothing doing. I slipped into another feverish state. My hands felt like they were on fire periodically – putting them around a cup full of mostly ice melted the ice in the cup. By now I knew something was wrong, that I could die. But I was convinced for some reason, that my will and my prayers, and the answer of God’s love were stronger than whatever was trying to pull me into the darkness.
QUICK SIDEBAR: Some people might mock me or shun me for my belief in God. It may seem somewhat illogical, I admit, as a person who relies in evidence & facts in her work, to see me have such Faith. Especially to someone who hasn’t had their life transformed, and their prayers answered, or felt the pure joy of serving God with their life.
And that’s fine. I’m not trying to shove my beliefs down anyone’s throat. I’m just asking that we display mutual respect. I’ll respect your right to believe in whatever you want – or nothing at all – if you respect mine.
Back to the story…
In telling this story, some people have asked me, why didn’t I get an ambulance to the hospital, or ask my brother to take me.
Why I Deliberately Chose to Suffer Until I Could Get to Doctor’s Hospital
Two reasons: I was half out of my mind with the fever.
Secondly, the hospital nearest my house was PG “Hospital”. I have been to that facility 3 times and each time it has disappointed me — I have a Lot of doctors, medical technicians, and nurses in my family, all at the top of their field. So I know what patient care is supposed to like, and am used to the ideal. PG “hospital” is Not it.
For example? Hospitals aren’t supposed to be dirty, even in the ER, nor are they supposed to give patients dingy, dirty gowns. I am as convinced now as I was then, that if I went into PG “Hospital” with what I though then was some kind of viral infection, I would have died there.
Then. More Weird Stuff
At the tail end of this experience I started to have visions. I would sit up to avoid coughing, with my eyes open, and see things. They weren’t dreams because I couldn’t fall asleep. I allow for the possibility that they were feverish hallucinations – all but one.
Some of them took place when I would close my eyes and see myself very fit & energetic. There were a lot of visions that seemed like they were things that could happen in the future. I can dismiss all but one of them. I kept seeing, and feeling, the presence of a very young child, I think it was a girl, but sometimes she looked slightly different.
This has convinced me I’m supposed to have a baby, perhaps through adoption, in the next few years. It was as if s/he was asking me to stay. I’m aware of how crazy this sounds. But I feel her here, right now, the same way you can often feel someone looking at you even if you’re turned away, eyes closed.
All these things put some extra fight in me. Newly determined, I made it until morning. I even thought I was better. I went downstairs when my brother was getting ready for work.
But after he left, I started feeling short of breath and wheezing for air.
Now, my brother works in DC, not far rom the house. One of my sisters lives less than a mile away. I have a cousin I call my sister who works less than 10 miles from my house, for another doctor in our family, an aunt married to my Uncle who came to help.
But for whatever reason, I wanted my mother. Who was in Africa. So I started texting her. Half of it, I know now was utter nonsense. Somehow, my mother conducted a rescue effort, and within an hour my sister’s friend, also in the medical profession, convinced me to immediately go to the hospital.
I’m wiped out for now, but I’ll tell you what happened in the hospital soon.